Photo Journal: Couples Camping Trip

Photo Journal: Couples Camping Trip

Found this in my drafts folder… a photo journal of camping with my husband and our friends, Traci and Ano, back in May 2021. I think we timed this camp trip right on time for me and Ian’s anniversary weekend.

Many thanks to the Gurr family for always being so warm and allowing us to camp at your beach.

The fresh water stream that leads to the ocean.

Sabrina also came for the day to hang out with us.

We were looking for freshwater eel in the stream, and set up some traps, but we didn’t catch any this time around.

We spent a few hours in the morning snorkeling and spearfishing at the beach. I tested out my new pole spear and didn’t get so lucky, but everyone else caught something for lunch. Here’s Ian de-scaling a malau (red snapper) he caught.

With no cell service out here, we spent our weekend offline hanging out, snorkeling, fishing, playing suipi, eating good food, reading, and hanging around the fire we set up on the beach.

I love waking up early on camp trips — right before the sun rises — and soaking up the serenity of the moving water, birds chirping in the distance, and wind rustling through the trees.

Happy sleepy faces. I wake Ian up whenever the sunrise starts so he can watch it with me. Then he’ll usually knock out right after for another nap haha.

Me and this cutie puppers.

Traci and Ano spearfishing.

Our tents. Traci and Ano’s tent is the red and white one; they’re fully set up with an air bed! Ian and I keep it pretty basic with our yellow and black tent; using camping mats, and stuffing our clothes into pillowcases haha.

Ultimate relaxation.

Going back to the stream the next morning to check on the eel traps and take a cold dip.

Homeward bound in the back of Ano’s truck. I was getting car sick in the truck so I jumped in the back in case I needed to barf lol, but the fresh air in my face was just what I needed.

Looking back at these have me wanting to go on another camp trip real soon!

Plus, here’s an instagram reel I put together from this trip!

xo, Nerelle

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

March 18, 2020

I just want to start by saying that every new day is worth the effort. Despite the craziness happening around the world, it has always been important to me to make every moment count, whether it’s in celebrating a milestone, resetting, or finding healing.

That being said… yesterday was my 28th birthday! …also my 6th day in quarantine… BUT we made the best of it!

Being in quarantine made celebrating my birthday a bit tricky because I hadn’t left my village in almost a week, and hadn’t even gotten in my car to get groceries or see friends/family. Luckily, I have a great community of neighbors and friends around me, and we got together for a pandemic-social-distancing-quarantine themed outdoor movie night. We watched Contagion, which was intentionally ironic because that is essentially real life events right now. We stomached it without too much cringe though.

Initially, I had zero plans for my birthday. I’d been spending most of my quarantine evenings either blogging (so much time to blog these days, I love it!) or watching movies on our rad new projector that Ian’s parents gifted us for Christmas. I thought it would suck to not do anything at all, and asked Ian if we could do an outdoor movie night. He discussed with our friend and neighbor Traci, and we were a go! Ian sent out a message to a few neighbors that we share our yard with so it would still be considered a “stay at home party”. Plus we all practiced social distancing and situated ourselves at least 6 feet apart.

The view, and our cute simple set up: white fabric and string lights taped to a shipping container

Traci and Ano’s cozy couch set up, with Officer up on top

Made some bomb fish lumpia, which Ian was mmMmm-ing so hard lol

Ian was even disinfecting the camp chairs with Lysol hahaha

Photos of me and Ian taken by Traci

Can we all have your immunity, Matt Damon?!

The friends/neighbors all keeping their distance from us hahah

Thank goodness WHO let the dogs out… Yodi snuggled so hard with us during the movie

From earlier that day

 I was in the middle of a conference call for my annual employee performance review–which I’m pretty sure I nailed–when Ian came in with this lovely brunch spread for me! I waved him away while I finished up my call, then Ian came back and snapped this cute flick and told me to open up my sweet gift… also pandemic themed, organic patchouli soap! I’m definitely the type of person that truly appreciates handmade natural bar soaps, so I love that Ian gets me.

Also during my conference call, my supervisor wished me happy birthday and asked for my favorite order from Ruby Red Cafe. Apparently my coworkers were planning to get food from there to deliver to me! I love that my team always celebrates birthdays, regardless of how busy we are,  or if we’re not at the office, or even  during a dang pandemic haha. That was so so so sweet. Sefa and Bel stopped by a little later, and Sefa cracked open his door covering his nose and mouth with his shirt all cautious, and I busted out laughing. We are in quarantine and so it was good that he did, but if you know Sefa, he’s simply hilarious. He put the food down (and brought my yoga mat from the office) and backed away slowly back to his truck. I thanked them, laughing and waving goodbye. They got food for both me and Ian, satisfying our power bowl craving from Ruby Red! ahhh
After clocking out from work, Ian and I head to the beach for a little fresh air. Ian went SUP surfing while I hung out in the hammocks under the pier with a bevvy for a bit. Then I swam around, and Ian was showing me his swimming techniques because I told him I wanted to get better at swimming. 


I’m truly so grateful for this man coming into my life, loving me the way he does, accepting me for who I am, and wanting to grow old with me too. 

Happy birthday to meeeee!


We chartered a sailboat in French Polynesia!

We chartered a sailboat in French Polynesia!

Ah the time has come. We’ve been waiting for this vacation all year. Actually since last year, and we were originally planning to go to Tonga. But that fortunately/unfortunately didn’t work out as their bareboat charters were all booked out, so Ian’s parents suggested Tahiti / French Polynesia, and well… here we are!

The morning we got our sailboat, or should I say yacht?! This thing is so flippin’ fancy! 

So thankful for Rick and Polly for making this dream a reality!

We got a bunch of groceries the night before, and loaded all our food and bags onto the boat.

Here’s Ian smiling like a kid at a toystore.

My favorite section to organize when we were loading our food and stuff into the catamaran. Polly found that it was the same wine that was served at the fancy restaurant we ate at in Tahiti (L’O à la Bouche). Don’t we look so classy? 

We had the option of going out ourselves, or waiting until one of the charter crew was available to take us out of the marina. The sailboats in the marina were packed like sardines with literally inches on either side and only small bumpers to keep them from scratching each other. But lucky for us, this cutie knows a thing or two about boat driving (he casually will park a 33′ boat and trailer with about 6 inches on either side), and he took us out of the marina like no big deal. 

I love this set of photos. 

Hahahaha, you’ll see why…

Ian and Rick are so extremely stoked once they got the cat moving and the sails hoisted. 


Ian and Rick were so extremely stoked once they got the cat moving and the sails hoisted. 


In Rick’s voice: “Now we’re sailing baby!”
And then…


Hmmm… something’s not right.


The sails kept getting caught on the lazy jack (which we weren’t familiar with).
Hahaha but the look on their faces is so good.

Ian, Rick, and Polly.

I love this family!

This catamaran was made for cruising. You can tell from the wide open spaces inside and outside the boat, the four beds, and this fancy davit. 

Our first day, we sailed from Raiatea to Taha’a. 

More photo journals to come!

Auckland Travel Journal

Auckland Travel Journal

Three days of misadventures in Auckland, New Zealand.

Flying into New Zealand.

I forget it’s made up of a bunch of islands. And it’s so green.

Accidentally booked our AirBnB for next month instead of this month, so we first devoured a hot bowl of ramen from Tanpopo restaurant, where we got on the nearby McDonald’s free WiFi, and booked another last minute AirBnB.

This was in the elevator of the second AirBnB.

Walking around the harbor, and Ian of course headed straight for the sailboats.

We spent the rest of our first afternoon here coveting these sailboats.

And talked about how excited we were to be going on a sailing adventure in Tahiti next week.

The sun set early so we walked through the bustling city, ate sushi, bought some snacks, got back to our AirBnB, got cozy, and fell asleep while watching Isn’t It Romantic on Netflix. 

Light and view outside the window the next morning.

Hey fiyonceMy bedder half. I love you a latte.

In bed pre-caffeine, and later coffee and brunch at Sierra Cafe.

Didn’t visit the Sky Tower this time around, even though the last time we went we had the best meal with Rick and Polly.

But it really gives the cityscape pizzazz, so I can’t not take a photo of it.

Freeze frame while at a red light, waiting to cross.

Taking the scenic route back to our place.

Where: Albert Park.

Why: These crazy tree trunks.

Met up with friends from back home who recently relocated to New Zealand.

Lauren and Gideon came over with their perfect little creation, baby Codie. It was my first time meeting her after her departure from the womb. And I must say, she’s one of the prettiest babies ever. Just look at her sweet face.

Lauren grew up in Auckland so she took us to see the sights. First off, Mt. Eden.

It was so cute seeing Ian walking baby Codie in her pram.

Ian and Gideon at the top.

The huge green crater.

Is it just me or are pigeons chubbier in New Zealand? They look so well-fed.

Aw, love this beautiful little family!

Next stop, Mission Bay beach.

Lauren convinced us to take this cute photo by the fountain.

It is really cute actually lol

Beautiful mother daughter moments. Lauren and Codie.

Our last day in NZ was mostly relaxing, walking around the city again, and packing up again for our flight to Tahiti the next morning.

Until next time!


Post-snorkel stoke at Fagatele Bay with Claire and Lee Ellen

You can see all the islands from up here!

You can see all the islands from up here!

At Mt. Alava – the next morning we woke up just as the sun was rising. Yodi was up already and wagging her tail. She slept in the tent with us. I was in between reading a book and staring at my engagement ring. I don’t normally wear rings, so it felt different, new. Ian got up to attend to nature’s call. And the light was streaming through our tent under the fale. We got up and breathed in the cool air and took in this majestic view.

You can see all the islands from up here!

Well not all of them, but way more than I’ve ever seen all at one time, so I was really excited. To the west we could see Upolu and Savaii, and to the east was very clearly Ofu and Ta`u of the Manu`a island group. We jumped back up on the platform and ate some potato chips, snapped some couple-y photos, and called our mains to break the news. This was our first day as an engaged couple, and it was off to an epic start.

Green Goodness

Green Goodness

I’m making another attempt at re-growing green onions.

The last time I grew scallions, it sprouted a full head of green goodness.

But I admit – after 3 weeks, I kind of forgot to change out the water and it went bad.

This time, I’ll try growing it in soil after a few days soaking the roots.

What’s keeping me wide eyed and bushy-tailed lately?

Matcha Green Tea.

I make myself a nice hot cup while at work and it keeps me hyped up and productive for the rest of the day.

Hello Little Starling

Hello Little Starling

Samoan Starling

Thursday evening was beautiful and calm.

Just another day at Coconut Point right?

SUPing at sunset

Sabrina and Max SUPing at sunset

Starling Head Hopping

Tuni swims after a tennis ball

Puppy swimmer


I had just gotten off of work and went to the beach to join the usual gang hanging out by the treehouse.

And tonight we had a visitor – a Samoan Starling (Aplonis atrifusca).

Samoan Starling
Samoan Starling
Samoan Starling
Samoan Starling

It’s still a young starling – gradually growing it’s adult feathers and learning to fly.

It made us all laugh nervously as it flew for only a few seconds…


Hopping from head to head

Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping

The Starling perched on my shoulder and nipped on Paolo’s ears.

This is the friendliest wild bird I’ve ever known

Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping
Starling Head Hopping

American Samoa ornithologist, Kim Kayano is rehabilitating this juvenile and hopes to have it return to the wild soon.

Starling Head Hopping